face/overlook

WildWest

Senior Member
Turkish
Hello. The following sentences are self made.

1. "She settled on the couch facing the ocean."
2. "She settled on the couch overlooking the ocean."
3. "Their apartment overlooks the ocean."
4. "Their apartment faces the ocean."

Do they differ from each other in meaning? I can't explain to myself now, but I somehow don't like the example number 2.
 
  • Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    I like 1 and 3 better although 2 and 4 aren't wrong. To me, buildings overlook the ocean, whereas people face the ocean, but others may disagree.
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    Yes, I prefer 1 and 3 as well.

    2) is also a little weird because it's not clear whether she was overlooking the ocean or the couch was overlooking the ocean. The couch overlooking the ocean makes more sense, but it makes the sentence weird.
    I agree with Retired-teacher that "overlook" is better for objects/buildings/places, as in, there is a view of the ocean from that place/building (probably from above).

    I think 4) could be a little odd -- it suggests that the apartment faces toward the ocean, but if you think about it, there might not actually be a view of the ocean from inside :confused: I mean, if I heard this, I would definitely assume there was a view, but it's still strange. Maybe I'm overthinking this.
    "Face the ocean" to me means that the principal face of a thing (or the body and/or face of a person) is directed toward the ocean.
     
    Last edited:

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    As the word suggests, "overlooking" something requires that one be at some height above the thing at which one is looking. An apartment on the third floor of a building may overlook the street, but the door to that same building, which is on the same level as the sidewalk/pavement, only faces the street, because it is on the same level.
     

    WildWest

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Thank you all for replies.

    In the examples 1 and 2 , I used both "overlooking" and "facing" as heads of reduced defining clauses modifying the couch.

    After your replies, I realized why I don't like the number 2:

    It sounds, to me, as if the couch itself is something that overlooks the ocean. In my mind, I attribute the action of overlooking to only buildings, apartments, offices etc.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    If you put that couch on top of a cliff along the Pacific, or in front of a west-facing window of a building on that cliff, then you can certainly settle on a couch overlooking the ocean.
     

    WildWest

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    If you put that couch on top of a cliff along the Pacific, or in front of a west-facing window of a building on that cliff, then you can certainly settle on a couch overlooking the ocean.
    Considering that, all four are correct?

    Additionally, I found these in Oxford Learner's Dictionaries:

    "Most of the rooms face the ocean."

    "The terrace faces south."
     
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